Clint wants a roommate! Give the man a roommate!

Interesting tidbit from BBC Rumors…they say they got it from Daily Star but I couldn’t find it over there.

Deuce is apparently a bit peeved because all of the Fulham players travelling away get their own room, which leaves Dempsey alone. And he doesn’t like that…Could that be his reasoning for the goal drought? Good to know he’s a people person…

United States striker Clint Dempsey has been bemoaning the fact that Fulham players don’t share rooms on away trips. The Cottagers have a dreadful away record but Dempsey reckons their form on the road could be reversed if the club changed its policy of giving each squad member their own room. “It’s crazy!” he said. “I’d prefer to have a room-mate on away trips because I get bored.” (Daily Star)

If you find the link to the story, post it in the comments! I would assume that most of the EPL clubs have their away accommodations like that, but don’t know for sure…

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Yanks Abroad: Bradley with his 17th! Pickens, Szetela, etc.

Michael Bradley didn’t let his US/Mexico disappearance get to him and continued his scoring ways for Heerenveen. This time, the 20 year old halted PSV’s dominance of the Frisians with a 52nd minute equalizer. It’s 17th goal overall, 13th in Eredivisie play. See below…

Danny Szetela – newly loaned out to Brescia of the Serie B – looked decent in the last 10 minutes of a 4-2 Brescia comeback win.

Oguchi Onyewu played all 90 minutes in a Standard Liege shutout of Rosealare. Unfortunately, Liege couldn’t find any offensive production either. 0-0 tie.

Not one American started for Fulhamerica in a 1-0 loss to Middlesbrough. Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey did get in. Dempsey after the break, McBride with 30 minutes to go. Kasey Keller sat on the bench, but is back and ready for selection. Eddie Johnson apparently got into a reserve game a couple days ago and scored in a 3-0 win.

Timmy Howard won the battle of the American goalies as Everton beat Marcus Hahnemann‘s Reading 1-0 and put them into the relegation zone. Bobby Convey was not selected.

Benny Feilhaber was not selected for Derby’s ass-whooping at the hands of Tottenham. Eddie Lewis is out injured.

Jonathan Spector was a last-minute sub for West Ham United in their 1-1 tie with Birmingham City.

Johann Smith
wasn’t selected for Bolton’s 1-0 loss to Portsmouth.

Matt Pickens was on the bench for QPR’s 3-2 triumph over Southampton. He didn’t play.

Jay DeMerit
was not in the line-up for Watford’s 2-1 win over Ipswich.

Fullback Zak Whitbread went all 90 minutes for Millwall in a 2-0 loss to Nottingham Forest.

Jemal Johnson got on for the last 5 minutes in a MK Dons’ 1-1 tie with Rotherham.

Steve Cherundolo started at fullback in Hannover 96’s 2-2 tie with Karlsruhe. Sal Zizzo was on the bench, but didn’t see any time.

Bryan Arguez
wasn’t selected for Hertha Berlin’s squad and Preston Zimmerman didn’t make the Hamburg squad.

Greg Dalby
wasn’t selected for Charleroi’s game versus Sint Truiden.

World Soccer Tidbits: Yanks Abroad Update

Busy weekend for the Yanks Abroad:

Danny Szetela dressed but didn’t play in Racing Santander’s 2-0 win over Osasuna.
Michael Bradley scored Heerenveen’s first goal in the Frisian’s 2-2 tie with FC Utrecht. It’s his seventh Eredivisie goal of the season. Damn.

Johann Smith didn’t dress for Bolton after returning from loan.

Gabriel Ferrari didn’t dress for Sampdoria’s 3-0 win over Palermo.

Brad Friedel should have had a shutout against Bolton if it weren’t for Kevin Nolan’s wonder strike. It was a 2-1 win.

Tim Howard managed a 1-0 shutout of strong side Manchester City.

West Ham’s Jonathan Spector started and played all 90 minutes in the Hammers’ 3-1 beating of Fulham. Clint Dempsey went the whole game for Fulham, while Carlos Bocanegra started but was taken off in the 14th minute with a mild head injury.

Jay DeMerit started and went all 90 in Watford’s 1-0 loss to Twellman-lovers Preston North End.

Andy Dorman (yes, he’s Welsh) played 20 minutes in St. Mirren’s 3-0 4th Scottish Cup win over Dumbarton.

Freddy Adu came on for Angel di Maria and played the last 10 minutes in Benfica’s 0-0 tie with Leixoes.

Clint Mathis‘ new squad? Ergotelis actually grabbed a win against Iraklis 1-0.

Eddie Lewis dressed but didn’t play in Derby’s 1-0 loss to Wigan. Benny Feilhaber didn’t dress.

Reading’s Marcus Hahnemann had 12 saves in a 3-1 loss to strong side loss to Aston Villa. Bobby Convey worked the last 20 minutes.

Millwall’s Zak Whitbread started and worked all 90 minutes in a 3-1 loss to Port Vale. The defender did sign a new 2 and 1/2 year contract recently, however.

Sydney FC’s Michael Enfield did not dress for their A-League match.

Jemal Johnson started and went all 90 for MK Dons in their 1-0 loss to Barnet.

EPL: Boxing Day Recap and Quick Facts! Read On!

Chelsea 4, Aston Villa 4

The Battle of Stamford Bridge yielded three red cards and eight goals. The end result sees Chelsea still clawing to stay near the leaders, Man Utd and Arsenal. It started pretty for Martin O’Neill and the Villans as Shaun Maloney – seen to be shipped off to Scotland soon – secured his place in O’Neill’s attack with a brace before halftime. Zatyiah Knight was sent off shortly thereafter, however, and Aston Villa had to fight from then on out. Shevchenko tied it up with two goals right after half-time, one coming off a questionable dive from Michael Ballack and an ensuing PK conversion. Two defenders then traded off goals – Martin Laursen and Alex – before Chelsea was handed the blow of two defenders being sent off within ten minutes of each other. Just before Ashley Cole’s handball though, Michael Ballack in his first appearance back scored an opportunistic free-kick 2 minutes from time. Cole’s handball on the line (he almost had to try and get away with it as it was going in regardless) ensured him walking orders and gave Gareth Barry the chance to tie it all up with minimal time left. Barry converted and showed the rest of the EPL that Chelsea certainly is NOT a title contender this year.

Manchester United 4, Sunderland 0

Wouldn’t even say that Sunderland was that lowly. It was more that Manchester United was borderline flawless in their execution. By halftime it was 3-0, with Wayne Rooney, Louis Saha, and Cristiano Ronaldo all bagging goals. Saha would later add a second on a PK before time’s end. Park Ji-Sung made his first appearance since a knee injury sidelined him. For Roy Keane, 17-year old striker Martyn Waghorn got his chance to shine – doing rather well in his first appearance in the senior side. The verdict? Manchester United will win this title.

Tottenham 5, Fulham 1

Ew. Former Tottenham coach Martin Jol turned down the Fulham position due to the lack of weapons and resources that would have been at his disposal. Interim coach Ray Lewington would probably agree right now. Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey went all 90 minutes for the Cottagers and Dempsey scored his sixth of the season, but Fulham fell hard. Roy Keane scored two, Tom Huddlestone scored two, and Jermain Defore added one for good measure. Even worse, Ledley King – back from injury – played solidly for a Tottenham squad that is reacting favorably to Juande Ramos’ reign. Young Jamie O’Hara enjoyed his time in the midfield, looking decent for only his 2nd EPL appearance. Fulham could – and it pains me to say this – go down this year. Rumors swirling peg Chris Coleman as returning now (if he steps down from Real Sociedad).

Everton 2, Bolton 0

Everton is the real deal. If they had a little more financial meddle, I am confident the Toffees would be a Big Four club. All of the weapons were out in full force yesterday. Tim Cahill scored in the 70th minute, making it 7 goals in all 13 appearances this season. Yakubu caused massive problems as usual. Timmy Howard is my nod for keeper of the year and – yes I am biased – but he consistently keeps the team afloat when their defensive lapses get the better of them. Joseph Yobo and Joleon Lescott quarterback an improving backline, while Mikel Arteta (who hopefully doesn’t go to Atletico Madrid) is the artist. Add that to the hard-nosed, bald-headed enforcers Thomas Gravesen and Lee Carsley and you have yourself a rather complete squad. Let’s not forget bringing Andrew Johnson off the bench, with two younger strikers Victor Anichebe and James Vaughan in tow as well. Assembled somewhat cheaply, Everton has put in a solid last 4 years. Either way, Everton put the smackdown on a schizo Bolton squad.

West Ham United 1, Reading 1

Jonathan Spector hit the crossbar barely missing a chance to put the Hammers up on Bobby Convey and Marcus Hahnemann’s Reading. It was Nolberto Solano who struck first right before halftime, but Dave Kitson equalized early in the second half. Kitson’s goal was a bit of a relief to the Royals after having to go on playing two-thirds of the game a man down thanks to Brynjar Gunnarsson’s two-footed tackle on Hayden Mullins and subsequent sending off.  

Birmingham 3, Middlesbrough 0

Gareth Southgate was infuriated after this one, as we was let down by his whole squad – the defense, who let up 3 goals and the offensive, who put 12 shots on frame but couldn’t squeak it by Birmingham’s Maik Taylor. City had their heads on straight, however, but it took a M’boro mishap (own goal from Stewart Downing) to put things into order for the Blues. Mikael Forssell and Gary McSheffrey were the scorers.

Wigan 1, Newcastle 0

Big Sam’s woes continue, but Steve Bruce’s Wigan will be elated to grab these three points. Bruce has effectively turned this team around grabbing 8 points out of the last 5 matches – great for a relegation battle. The man of the hour was Ryan Taylor who put the gamewinner home in the 65th minute, allowing former Toon man Titus Bramble to breath a sigh of relief against his old squad. Allardyce tried a new look squad and a more physical approach – failing (but not totally) on both accounts. Could be the end for Big Sam.

Liverpool 2, Derby 1

Eddie Lewis assisted on James McEveley’s equalizer in the 67th minute and Benny “Holy” Feilhaber played the whole second half as the Rams fought hard to stay level for 90 minutes. Steven Gerrard’s heroics ensured victory, ruining young goalkeeper Lewis Price’s first day in goal. Liverpool looked comfortable throughout, however, even though Paul Jewell’s new club looked a bit more relentless. You can expect to see Benny Feilhaber more now as two players were injured of the same position – Stephen Pearson and Darren Moore. It was Lewis’ second assist of the season. Another question: where the hell has Robert Earnshaw been ALL season? Yes, Derby is bad but Steve Howard and Kenny Miller are managing goals!! Earnshaw is the guy who has scored hat-tricks in all four levels of English soccer and yet, here we are, 13 games, NO goals. Hmmm.

Portsmouth 0, Arsenal 0

A deadlock of the somewhat boring breed. Pompey can’t score recently, but at least they have a solid Sol Campbell-led backfield. Benjani almost put Portsmouth ahead, missing narrowly, but defense was the name of the game – and Arsenal was a bit taken aback by it. The tie allowed Manchester United to move a point ahead on the top of the table, but Wenger is certainly not worried.  

QUICK FACTS:

1. Man Utd left Ryan Giggs and Anderson back in Manchester and Carlos Tevez and Patrice Evra on the bench in their 4-0 win over Sunderland.

2. Everton’s +16 goal difference is better than third place Chelsea’s, a testament to their play

3. Tottenham has won four out of their last five games, their only loss coming to Arsenal

4. Completely unrelated to the EPL, Leeds United – troubled club galore – is on its’ way back to glory. Even with a 15 point docking early for administrative issues, Leeds sits in third place in League One with a 16-2-4 record. Much of this is due to the young Jermaine Beckford and Tresor Kandol who have combined for 22 of their 41 goals.

EPL Daily 12.26: Happy Holidays! And some Dempsey, Beckham, Boxing Day, etc.

Thank you to all that come here every once in a while to read what we got to say. It’s Boxing Day and we’re in for a good day of soccer (going on as I share these headlines with you).

DUECE: Clint Dempsey struck for his 6th goal of the season in (the game is close to done) a rather lopsided loss to Tottenham. Dempsey is doing what they expected David Healy, Diomansy Kamara, and Shefki Kuqi to do – clean up the mess of offense Fulham has. Heading into the New Year, there is no doubt that the Cottagers are going to be fighting the relegation battle. Dempsey kept them up last year though…can he do it again, with some late help from a soon-to-be returning Brian McBride (they desperately need a target man)?

EPL SCORING: An update of EPL Leading Scorers – notice Dempsey at the bottom…

Cristiano Ronaldo (MU) 12
Emmaneul Adebayor (ARS) 10
Nicolas Anelka (BOL) 10
Robbie Keane (TOT) 10
Benjani (POR) 9
Yakubu (EVE) 9
Fernando Torres (LIV) 9
Marcus Bent (WIG) 7
Roque Santa Cruz (BLA) 7
Carlos Tevez (MU) 7
Steven Gerrard (LIV) 7
Gabriel Agbonlahor (WHU) 6
Cesc Fabregas (ARS) 6
Obafemi Martins (NEW) 6
Clint Dempsey (FUL) 6
Dave Kitson (RDG) 6

ARSENAL: With the January transfer window looming, look for there to be a flurry of activity. One team that will be holding out……or so it seems…….is Arsene Wenger’s young Arsenal squad. Even with the imminent absence of Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue for the African Nations Cup – Wenger is pretty sure recalled Johann Djourou and Philippe Senderos can do the job.

LAWRIE SANCHEZ: Gone. Martin Jol was apparently to be considered for the Fulham opening – but that has gone to the crapper. Former Cottager John Collins – who recently left his post at the SPL’s Hibernian – will most likely grab the job.

DAVID BECKHAM: Expected to train with Arsenal starting as early as January in an attempt to get fit for the upcoming MLS season as well as his potential 100th appearance for the English national team. Arsene Wenger has assured that Beckham comes to train, NOT play for the Gunners.

FRANKIE SIMEK: Though not the EPL, the American Sheffield Wednesday right-back warrants a headline due to an unfortunate injury that could keep him out for up to 2 months. Simek – now on the USMNT radar – also was looked at by Everton and a couple other EPL clubs this past summer but with Sheffield Wednesday’s poor performances recently, an injury, and a new contract extension, it looks like Simek won’t get that look again for a while.

UCL Round of 16 DRAW: For those who missed it, the draw looks like this…

Liverpool vs. Inter Milan
Chelsea vs. Olympiakos
AS Roma vs. Real Madrid
Schalke 04 vs. Porto
Arsenal vs. AC Milan
Barcelona vs. Celtic
FC Sevilla vs. Fenerbahce
Manchester United vs. Lyon

Predictions as the match dates get closer. For those interested, the two legs will be held on February 19th-20th and March 4th-5th.

New England v. Chicago Preview (All Right, All Right; I’ll Do It)

I’m about to do something I almost never do: preview a game, namely, the Eastern Conference Final pitting the New England Revolution against the Chicago Fire. For the record, I blame the quality stuff other people are turning out. Even MLSnet.com’s typically tepid preview contains a vital information-nugget: Shalrie Joseph will have to sit out the final if he picks up a yellow in the semifinal. That’s pretty big, bigger than Taylor Twellman being in the same situation to be sure. I also learned that Kevin Stott will officiate…though I can’t remember whether I have an opinion on him or not.

Before getting to my thoughts, here are the other “inspirations” that got me thinking too much about tomorrow night’s game. Ives Galarcep turned in pre-game analysis for ESPN that hits plenty of useful highlights, most notably the potentially defining match-up between Joseph and Cuauhtemoc Blanco – more on this later from me. A couple people took up the rivalry thing: Blue Blooded Journo conducted a Q & A with himself in which he looks into everything from Chicago’s fans to the horror that is Blanco’s face…Chicago fans may want to skip that one. Finally, even though Luis Arroyave failed to get “bulletin board material” out of either side of the rivalry, he passed on an absolutely brilliant alleged quote from Clint Dempsey:

Just last year, a scuffle nearly broke out in the Toyota Park tunnel with Fire defender Gonzalo Segares and ex-Revolution midfielder Clint Dempsey. Sources said Dempsey yelled ‘I don’t care–take me to jail’ as teammates tried to restrain him.”

I’ll be asking for a t-shirt for Christmas, along with another inspired by Britney Spears (credit to Ann Romano from the Portland Mercury): “Rehab Is Hard Y’all.”

Now, for my look ahead to Those Things That Will Loom Large in tomorrow night’s game. Continue reading

Switzerland 0-1 U.S.: Seen Through Others’ Eyes

Due to the necessity of negotiating for TV time in a one-TV household, I passed on the U.S. v. Switzerland in exchange for tonight’s LA Galaxy v. Red Bull game. Helping with my decision to forgo negotiations on this occasion was a personal belief that this game didn’t mean all that much. One, it was Switzerland, and, two, the need to win in Europe seemed the chief talking point going in, a detail about which I’m not particularly bothered. I mean if we’re obsessed winning in Europe, let’s just schedule friendlies against San Marino or Liechtenstein and let the good vibes come…whoops, let’s scratch that last one and make it Iceland

Given the trade-off, I had to make do with match reports – and, as always, the Web provided.

The relative quality of the game hung around as a major talking point and the very first item I read, an Associated Press feed ESPN picked up (yesterday afternoon), mentioned a lot of booing; such things make me think I didn’t miss all that much. It could be that our men’s team (hereafter, the Yanquis) offended the typically low-key Swiss, but, Soccer Source’s Mr. Baker, who reads German (hmm…part of a fifth column? get a tap on this cat), revealed that the Swiss team inspired much of the disgust.

The Yanqui media, while generally agreeing our team barely deserved the loving tap on their collective butts, found some welcome details to highlight. Jeff Carlisle, writing for ESPN, seemed most impressed with the defense, including the gaffe-plagued Oguchi Onyewu; elsewhere, Goal.com credited Freddy Adu for brightening a dreary, rainy affair. My Soccer Blog’s Mike H offered a vague echo of that, noting that the Yanqui adoption of a “sense of the unexpected” allowed the eventual break-through. Even the occasionally grumpy Ives Galarcep generally praised the effort, singling out Adu and Clint Dempsey on the plus side and Taylor Twellman on the negative. Topping the “happy talk” category, however, was USSoccerplayas.com – though that might have resulted from the decision to post the report from U.S. Soccer Communications…

Seeing as we won, the minus side of the ledger doesn’t show much. I’ve already mentioned Twellman, who few people seem eager to see in Yanqui blue (or white, or red, or exploding, denim stars) again. Fullback Files’ report of bulleted excellence doesn’t so much go negative as it ponders the kind of player the U.S. produces: “thuggish defenders” and “two-way central midfielders,” with the implication being that said production has its limitations. No, I think the sternest report came from American Soccer Daily, who, upon reviewing the evidence, opined that “neither side particularly deserved to win.” And yet, we did.

So, what did all y’all think? As noted above, all I know about this one came from what others’ told me. And, the best thing I read/saw all day was the snapshot of the team “frolicking” in the pool. There’s just this great “summer house in Greece” feel to the image. Thanks for that goes to The Beautiful Game.